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Lack of height doesn’t deter Browns wide receiver

BEREA – Wide receiver Corey Bridges stands tall in his mind.

Tuesday, August 03, 1999

BEREA – Wide receiver Corey Bridges stands tall in his mind. The 5-foot-7 Bridges feels nearly a foot taller and is determined to make the Cleveland Browns’ roster.

”Height don’t mean jack,” the 178-pound Bridges said at the team’s preseason training camp. ”They say I’m 5-7 physically, but I’m 6-5 mentally. I feel like I’m 6-5 on the field.

”You can’t go out there and say, ‘Man, I’m too small.’ You’ve got to go out there and say, ‘I’m the man. I’m going to beat this guy, I don’t care who he is’.”

Beating out other players to make the cut is a ”mental thing,” Bridges said.

”You can’t think your body is sore, you’re banged up and your legs are gone,” he said. ”You have to think, ‘I’m out here trying to support myself and my family,’ which I don’t have yet, except for my mom and dad.”

The University of South Carolina graduate tried out with Minnesota last year but failed to make the roster. Bridges would have taken any spot to make the Vikings.

”If they had a punt holder, I’d go out for that,” he said.

He’s nominally a wide receiver, but he also is working out at punt returner and kick returner.

Bridges was timed at 4.23 seconds in the 40-yard dash and holds the record at his alma mater in the 55-, 60- and 100-meter dashes. He caught 67 passes for 886 yards and eight touchdowns in four years for the Gamecocks.

”You can be the fastest guy in the world, but if you don’t have football instincts and know what to do, then you’re just running wild,” he said.

Bridges said returning the ball is more than just a size issue.

”A good return man has to know how to read blocks, how to use speed, how to pick the hole and how to make a commitment,” Bridges said.

”Corey Bridges was struggling a week ago and now he’s making the plays,” Palmer said. ”He was in a situation where he would get behind people, and then he would drop the ball. I think his legs are back and he’s doing a pretty good job.”

The undrafted and untested NFL status of Bridges doesn’t bother Palmer.

”I know he played at South Carolina and was up in Minnesota,” Palmer said. ”I don’t know whether he was drafted. He’s a player, and we’ll go from there.”